Stretching across the country’s nature reserves and over the hills of the Maya Mountains, Belize’s landscape comes alive as the sun sets. The cacophonous sounds of animals rustling and insects humming seemingly synchronize. Underwater, in the depths of the Caribbean Sea, unique creatures illuminate and awaken. The darker the night, the more mysterious and magnificent are the wonders revealed. Besides, some of the most unique spots in Belize are actually best seen under the guise of darkness. With 24 hours in a day and a mission to take advantage of as many hours as possible, here, we turn to twilight and highlight the best adventures in Belize at night.
DARK DIVES IN THE BELIZE BARRIER REEF
The Belize Barrier Reef has always been globally recognized for its beauty and discovery – attracting divers, snorkelers and water-lovers from afar. Although, what makes it fascinating is what lies below. In the daylight, vibrant tropical fish and an array of other sea life paint a vivid underwater scene. With sunset, we’re not just talking about fewer people in the water; half of the ocean’s marine life emerge from the depths to feed or partake in mating rituals. Then, there’s a shadow – your light stirs the curious. Caribbean Reef Sharks hunt prey while Spotted Eagle Rays glide above corals that reflect every colour of the spectrum. The ever-present flecks of the ocean become iridescent against deep cobalt blues as bioluminescence take center stage to illuminate. As you surface and witness the stars above, fascination lingers with what lies beneath.
Though a breath-taking adventure for night scuba divers anywhere, bioluminescence is not just limited to the depths of the sea. Travel to Southern Belize for this experience like no other at Anderson Lagoon in Hopkins. This hidden gem is reached by a short river cruise through the Sittee River. As you quietly cruise along the river as dusk sets in, try to spot crocodiles and monkeys near the river banks. Weaving through narrow canals, the lagoon abruptly spreads out ahead for a vast contrast as the stars above reflect the electric blue glow illuminating from the lagoon’s surface. If you can take your eyes away from the glowing lights, pay keen attention to the ripples for feeding fish, game birds, and more as they energize with the darkness. This experience is like a scene straight out of Disney – magical!
STARGAZING IN BELIZE – WITHOUT LIGHT POLLUTION
Wherever you may be – whether at a remote jungle lodge, a quiet seaside beach bungalow, or at a basecamp in one of Belize’s stunning atolls – be sure to look up! With little to no light pollution in many vacation hotspots countrywide, Belize is a top destination to stargaze. Take in the beauty of the dark night sky in all its splendour. From glistening stars to shooting stars, nights in Belize can be some of the most memorable and magical during your vacation.
Over half of Belize is covered with verdant jungle cover – best explored on foot. Much like underwater, the rainforest shines differently after dark. Take to the trails at night to try your luck spotting Belize’s largely nocturnal wildlife as fireflies dance around your headlamp. Elusive cats such as jaguars, ocelots and jaguarundis are possible sightings as they emerge to hunt or feed; don’t be alarmed if yellow or green eyes reflect from your flashlight – that may be a fox or an owl. The sounds of the jungle come to a symphony of life as frogs croak, crickets chirp and owls hoot. But whilst you look above to the stars and scan the treetops, don’t forget to watch your step as insects and other creepy crawlers like spiders and snakes nestle below. Whether trekking in the dense forest of a wildlife sanctuary like Cockcomb Basin in the South, or going on a jungle hike in the Cayo District, you’re bound to have a wild time!